Archive for October, 2012

The ABCs of Black Metal (Round One)

Posted in black metal, colombia, DSBM, finland, france, funeral mist, local, musings, norway, poland, sweden, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

So about a month ago on Facebook I decided I would do an ABCs of black metal. It started out with me thinking I wanted to post Averse Sefira, and then it went from there. I figured I would document that here, in case anyone else was interested. I might do it for albums and songs too, someday. My goal was to pick bands that were not the obvious answer, and as a result I found some pretty cool stuff out there (I was not going to post Xasthur for X, for instance; I was determined to find something else, no matter how obscure). So here you go:

A is for Averse Sefira (US)

B is for Behexen (Finland- they have a new one out!)

C is for Craft (Sweden)

D is for Deathspell Omega (France- this might be the obvious choice for me, but it’s not Darkthrone)

[From the new EP]

E is for Enslaved (Norway)

[This one is also new]

F is for Funeral Mist (Sweden)

F is also for False (US)

[Minneapolis metal FTW]

G is for Gehenna (Norway)

H is for Hypothermia (Sweden)

I is for Inquisition (Colombia/US)

J is for Judas Iscariot (US)

K is for Krieg (US)

L is for Leviathan (US- I always forget Leviathan)

M is for Mgla (Poland)

[Also new. Gotta get this one. Wow]

N is for Nifelheim (Sweden)

O is for Ofermod (Sweden)

P is for Profanatica (US)

[The fun thing about Profanatica is trying to find a video without an image or title too offensive for Facebook]

Q is for Quintessence (France)

[This project was a lot of fun because it resulted in my discovery of great bands like Quintessence]

R is for Ragnarok (Norway)

S is for Samael (Switzerland)

[Love that video]

T is for Teitanblood (Spain)

U is for Urn (Finland)

V is for Velnias (US)

[Live in the woods]

W is for Winterfylleth (UK)

X is for Xerces (France)

Y is for Ye Goat-herd Gods (Canada- is that not the greatest name ever?)

Z is for The Zephyr (Mexico)

***

Well, that’s the list for that project. Like I said, I may do another one, and if I do I’ll post it here. Working on a post about French post-black/blackgaze metal for Thursday.

Until then,

Hagalaz

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Concert: Septicflesh/Krisiun/Melechesh/Ex Deo/Inquisition (10/19, St. Paul, MN, Station 4)

Posted in black metal, concerts, death metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

So Friday was the amazing Conquerors of the World Tour, which I saw in St. Paul. This was a strange show for me, because the headliner (Septicflesh) was not what I was really excited for. I was most stoked (as I’m sure you can tell from my madness on here in the past week or so) for Melechesh and Inquisition. All the rest was dessert as far as I’m concerned, however, the entire show was completely amazing with everyone at the top of their game.

Inquisition started us off with a short (25 minutes) but flawless set. Wow. I had started to think that I might could forgive Dark Funeral for depriving me from seeing them in the spring, but I’ve changed my mind. I would like to see that again many, many more times. The very notion that two people can create such a solid sound is amazing to me. The drums fill in the small places where the guitar can’t, and the result is seamless. Dagon’s vocals are also really cool live, as he’ll manipulate where he is standing sometimes to achieve different vocal affects. He also is very animated in his stage presence and moves around a lot. Inquisition is very solid in the show that they bring to the stage, and the United States and Canada are lucky to finally get to see them on a full North American tour. What an amazing experience. It was perfect.

[They played this one]

[This is from earlier this year, but still. Be amazed. That’s two guys up there.]

Next up was Ex Deo, whom I watched from the back of the venue with my friend Carlos. I am not a fan of Ex Deo, really. I listened to snippets of their new album (about Caligula, which is awesome), and they are solid, but are a little too safe for my personal tastes. However, their live performance was really cool. They had Roman standards on stage and armor on (golden eagles everywhere). At one point the vocalist had a whip that he cracked onstage, and he would do hand gestures associated with the Roman emperors (the thumbs down thing from Gladiator, for instance) as well. There was a lot of spectacle, and their set was really fun to watch. The music is a lot more energetic and fun live as well, I think, and so even if you are mildly disinterested in Ex Deo being on the bill like I was, I highly recommend that you watch their set. Mightily entertaining.

[A new video from Ex Deo, which, in a way, depicts why they are not for me. Too overdone, I think]

[It’s much better live]

After Ex Deo’s set was the mighty Melechesh. As I was doing a write up on them earlier this week I’ve been listening to them a lot lately, and it occurred to me the other day that I was really in for a treat to get to see these guys live. I was not disappointed. Melechesh’s songs are so damn catchy it’s impossible to not thrash around to them. I don’t think I stopped moving throughout their entire set. They burned some incense on stage, which I am always a fan of. At one point, Ashmedi used a drum stick across the guitar strings to play the intro to “Triangular Tattvic Fire.” The guy I stood next to who had seen Melechesh a couple of times before said that he has done this before, although apparently this was the first time that he had done so on this particular tour. So that may be something for you all further down the dates to look forward to. I have no idea how he did it, but it was awesome. The thrown drumstick was caught by the aforementioned guy. Carlos thinks that Melechesh’s set was the best of the night, and I am inclined to agree (although damn, was Inquisition great as well).

[I just love this song]

[Again, this isn’t too recent, but at least it’s a good quality vid]

Krisiun was up next, and it became very clear very quickly that they were the crowd favorite. A pretty good pit got started during Krisiun’s set, and I think the band was enjoying it as much as the crowd was. I have to admit that my acquaintance with Krisiun is a fairly new one, so I don’t know a lot about them, but I do know that they played my favorite kind of death metal. Really impressive shredding and a phenomenal interaction with the crowd. It was during Krisiun’s set that I picked up all the bruises that I have today; at one point a guy who was having quite a lot of fun being rowdy slammed into some people to the right of me, which knocked my ribs right into the rail. It hurt, but no concert experience is complete without battle scars. Krisiun played a brutal and energetic set, and the crowd loved it.

[Brutal]

[Crowds love Krisiun. They are great performers]

Finally, Septicflesh took the stage. Several people up front with me got really excited (myself included) by the fact that Spiros Antoniou’s mic stand had a Cthulhu head on it. They also had two banners which looked like H.R. Giger artwork, although I can’t be sure of that. Septicflesh’s set was very solid; I don’t really know all that much about them, but their incorporation of the pre-recorded choral and orchestral parts along with the live music was very well done. Antoniou slung his bass around like it weighed nothing at all, and at times he lifted it up without the strap and played it from up near his chest. Also, he made hand gestures at times along with the music, his hands trembling from how tensed they were. It was a very emotional performance, and I am sorry to say that I felt that I didn’t do it justice. I was in the front row, but after several hours of standing in shoes with no arch support on the metal things in front of the rail at Station 4, I was completely exhausted and my feet and back were killing me. If I hadn’t felt so rotten I would have tried to engage a lot more- a lot of people apparently were there for the earlier bands like I was, but unfortunately chose to skip the headliners. Which is totally lame; Septicflesh played a great set, and I wish more people had stuck around for it.

[Not typically my thing, but good stuff nonetheless]

[They recreate the effects from the studio recordings really well live. Septicflesh’s set was seamless]

I had set aside some money to spend at the merch tables, of course, and I ended up with a rad Inquisition shirt. I absolutely love this album art; it is one of my absolute favorites ever (rib tattoo! Someday, perhaps).

Inquisition shirt (front)

And the back.

The back is pretty rad too. I didn’t realize this was on the back when I bought it, but I’m certainly not disappointed.

I also went home with Inquisition’s newest album, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm, which sports the same artwork as my shirt. Now I finally own my own Inquisition album! Yay.

My Inquisition merch pile also includes a patch for my battle jacket. I’m glad there were Inquisition patches available; I wanted a Melechesh patch too but there weren’t any. Guess I’ll have to track one down on the internet. This matches my color scheme and everything!

So happy to have something else to put on my battle jacket. I miss working on it.

I also bought myself an Abruptum pin for the jacket. I’ve been looking for something Abruptum to put on my jacket (I have a Marduk patch and a Funeral Mist one, I might as well collect them all!), but all the patches I have found are very obviously bootlegs, and poorly made ones as well. But now I have a pin, and it’s really nice and looks awesome.

Shiny.

Later in the evening I got to meet the members of Melechesh and Inquisition, who are all really, really nice people. It’s always good to see my friend Carlos, too, who sells merch for Marduk when they are here (and did so for Inquisition and Krisiun this time). Apparently Inquisition’s picking up more merch in Seattle tonight, so there’s hope yet for those of you who are planning to see them and want an awesome shirt like mine.

All in all it was a great evening, and all the bands played amazing sets. Even the bands that are not what I’d typically listen to I was impressed with; I have seen negative reviews of Ex Deo on this tour, however, I felt that in St. Paul they were very good. Looks like there are only a handful of days left on this tour, so catch it if you can. It’s a great one.

-Hagalaz

Fall Nachtmystium Tour *Mostly* Cancelled

Posted in black metal, concerts, tour dates, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

This has been circulating for the past couple of days, and I figured I should address it since I made a post squealing about Nachtmystium going back on tour earlier. Nachtmystium is, unfortunately, having to cancel most of their upcoming tour due to a family emergency. The official word:

“Nachtmystium, regretfully, has to reschedule its upcoming US tour due to an unavoidable family emergency. The band (and Nachtmystium co-horts Lord Mantis) will still be able to perform the last four dates of the tour on the east coast, but all other dates will be rescheduled for the near future. Nachtmystium apologizes to all the fans and promoters as this was an unavoidable circumstance and we wish that things were different. However, we are beyond excited to come play for you soon. To those fans who will still be able to see us in November, we can’t wait to destroy your eardrums. See you soon!” (from The Gauntlet).

First of all, family emergencies totally suck and I hope that everything is okay for whoever is experiencing this. Secondly, I really, really hope that this doesn’t hurt the band any in terms of getting shows. I know that Nachtmystium has become kind of legendary for not making it to their own gigs, and although I trust that Blake Judd really is cleaning up and the band are working on their track record as they promised to do earlier this year, having a developed reputation for missing your own shows is not a good thing. Hopefully people cut them some slack as this is a family emergency we are talking about here, and Nachtmystium won’t feel any backlash, because they are a great band, and also really nice people.

Thirdly, the official statement (and that is the official statement) says that “all other dates will be rescheduled for the near future,” which means there’s hope for the rest of us yet. Those of you on the last few dates will still get your dates (hopefully) and the rest of us, it seems, will get our Nachtmystium show, just at a different time. So don’t despair, and plan on seeing them when they come back, because as I believe I made it clear earlier, they are on the ball in terms of live performance right now.

My thoughts are with the band right now as they deal with whatever emergency has arisen. Hope all is well soon.

Live report of the Conquerors of the World Tour coming up soon. Busy busy busy week.

-Hagalaz

Band Spotlight: Melechesh (Israel/Netherlands)

Posted in black metal, featured artist, israel, the netherlands, underground with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Melechesh is another of the bands I will be seeing live tomorrow night, and that I am completely stoked about. I have been a fan since Pandora randomly played them for me one fateful day, and I can’t wait to see them perform live. So without further ado…

Melechesh, which means “King of Fire” in Hebrew, got their start in the holy city of Jerusalem in 1993. Now, if you’re like me, you appreciate the irony behind a black metal band from Jerusalem. Nothing seems quite so cool to me as the thought of black metal from the Holy Land. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks like I do, and according to Encyclopedia Metallum, Melechesh, due to problems with the religious authorities and with the deeply religious people of their hometown (as well as “personal and professional reasons,” of which I can’t really comment on as I know nothing about), actually packed up and moved to the Netherlands, where they currently reside. In the words of Nathan Explosion, “now that’s brutal.”

[From their first album, As Jerusalem Burns… Al’Intisar. Melechesh, from their early days, incorporated Mediterranean melodies into their black metal]

Melechesh got started in 1993, and released their demo As Jerusalem Burns… in 1995, after which they were apparently accused of alleged “dark cult activities” in Jerusalem and Bethlehem but were later cleared (NuclearBlast). Their debut came out a year later under the title As Jerusalem Burns… Al’Intisar, and contained the same tracks that appeared on the demo as well as several others (the above is one of the tracks that appeared on both). From the beginning it was clear that Melechesh would not be your typical black metal band; they call themselves “Mesopotamian metal” and incorporate a lot of Middle Eastern melodies in their work, a breath of fresh air in a black metal scene that was increasingly starting to all blend together.

[From 2001’s Djinn]

Also in 1996, the band released an EP called “The Siege of Lachish,” after which they stayed quiet for several years, not re-emerging until 2001’s Djinn, their next full length album. In this long span of no recordings, the band played several shows in the Holy Land and in 1998 relocated to the Netherlands. In 1999, Proscriptor McGovern of Absu (from Texas, like me!) joined the band on drums. 2003 saw the release of Sphynx, the cover art of which was done by a guy who does art for Star Wars (and may, perhaps, have been in the band at some point… my knowledge is scant here and I’m having trouble corroborating sources, so feel free to offer the info up if you know it. Either way, there is nothing about any of that situation that is not totally awesome). According to Nuclear Blast, Sphynx was considered one of the top 10 metal albums of the year in 2003, impressive for a band from so far underground (although not, I think, undeserved).

[This one is from Sphynx, 2003. There’s a rock beat under this one, which is cool. Layers upon layers…]

Armed with a North American/Central American distributer in The End Records, Melechesh pressed on, releasing another EP the following year called “The Ziggurat Scrolls.” Their fourth LP, Emissaries, followed in 2006. This album was the first one I heard by Melechesh, and it seems that lots of people consider it to be the pinnacle of the band’s work up to that point (Nuclear Blast). While they have continuously utilized the Mediterranean musical approaches in their scales and drum patterns, Melechesh has always remained fresh and original in their sound. They have not, then, become some kind of novelty act; with shifting tempos and original song structure, they never become boring.

[This was my first Melechesh song. It about knocked my socks off]

Melechesh’s lyrical themes center around Mesopotamian and Sumerian mythology. This focus is a nice shift away from the typical black metal lyrics, as well as fits well with the band’s musical perspective. Also, it’s complicated by the inclusion of some Sumerian symbols and deities in anti-cosmic Satanism, which is cool. I’m not claiming that’s what they are going for; I don’t actually know. However, the connection is there and is interesting.

Melechesh’s fifth full length album, The Epigenesis, came out in 2011, and they have a new EP out this year called “Mystics of the Pillar II.” You can buy their new EP in digital format right here on their official website. Other websites I plundered for the information in this write up are the Nuclear Blast webpage for Melechesh, and of course, Encyclopedia Metallum and Wikipedia. If you get a chance, I highly recommend giving Melechesh a listen. Their songs are catchy and interesting, and it is fun to hear music so radically different than traditional black metal.

[As a Renaissance geek, this title particularly appeals to me. Love the sitar and drums. From Emissaries (2011)]

For me, the best part about Melechesh is the fact that I get to see them tomorrow! I hope they have patches available; I think my battle jacket could do with a Melechesh patch (or any more patches at all! Having skimp on patch buying sucks! Oh well. Financial stability is near, just as soon as I purchase those damned MDF tickets and can stop pinching pennies). I’ll do a write up of the show at least for Sunday, if not earlier.

Stay kvlt.

-Hagalaz

Hagalaz’ Favorite Black Metal Vocalists

Posted in black metal, dead, funeral mist, marduk, mayhem, norway, sweden, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

A while back, Vince Neilstein from MetalSucks wrote a post saying that metal vocalists had outlived their usefulness. Most of them are crap, he said, and pondered the idea that the reason why we keep them around is because they fill a kind of void, that human beings just take comfort in hearing a human voice. He also advocated for more instrumental metal. [Here is the original post, as well as a couple of commentaries.]

Well, I’m sure you all know how I initially reacted to this. “GASP! But what about X, Y, and Z?! No! Vocals are as much an instrument as the guitar is!” The function of the metal vocalist is too important to just shrug off. I mean, we really do need some kind of human connection, and many of the vocalists out there endeavor to do artistic things with their vocals.  Of course, that is not always the case; I am forced to admit that Mr. Neilstein is right on the account that there are some extraordinarily terrible vocalists out there. However, since his post, I have been ruminating on some of the better ones, the ones on whose behalf I objected to Neilstein’s premise with such vehemence.

So let’s do it. Here are some of my all-time favorite black metal vocalists (in no particular order, except for Dead, who I tend to stick at the front of most things).

Dead (Morbid, Mayhem)

Some people say that Dead is famous simply because he killed himself and not because he had any actual talent. Those people are philistines and should be disregarded. Dead is a bloody brilliant vocalist. Although I would argue that his best vocal work is with Morbid rather than with Mayhem, I also think that I would feel less certain about that if we had more studio work with Dead while he was in Mayhem. Dead’s vocals with Morbid are more of a raspy death rattle than the shrieks that he incorporates in his Mayhem work. Both, however, are creepy as all get out, and his knowledge of when to apply which vocals and how was impressive. Dead also has the added bonus of not being a very good singer, which makes his “la la la”s on songs like Disgusting Semla extremely endearing.

[La la la la la!]

[Have some Carnage. You don’t need to hear Freezing Moon again]

Arioch/Mortuus (Funeral Mist, Marduk, Triumphator)

In the same vein as Dead, Arioch (or Mortuus, or whatever he is going by now) has a very unique vocal style. He claims that he considers his voice as an instrument. Jamie says that Arioch is the Whitney Houston of black metal, and I reckon he’s pretty much right. Not only can the man belt out some of the ugliest screams and groans I’ve ever heard, but he does so on pitch. There’s a certain note (yes, note) that he hits in “Anti-Flesh Nimbus” that makes me convinced that he is also a very good singer. The fact that he has managed to do these kinds of vocals for as long as he has (he’s been pretty active since about 1996) without damaging his throat is impressive. One of the most versatile vocalists I have ever heard, his voice ranges from majestic adulations to frenzied screams. In my personal opinion, the best vocal cords/lungs in black metal.

[Resisting the urge to post “Holy Poison” because I want you to hear the crazy screaming]

[Been listening to this song a lot lately. And people say Marduk are a one trick pony. Pssshaw, I say]

Dagon (Inquisition)

I really like Dagon’s vocals because he approaches the entire concept of black metal vocals from a whole other angle than most of his contemporaries.  Dagon claims that he found the traditional shrieks of black metal to be increasingly cliched, and wanted to approach the music from a different perspective. Thus, Dagon’s weird, croaky, and inhuman chants were born. If Inquisition’s goal is to ask us to meditate on the cosmos and the metaphysical, Dagon’s bizarre, yet somehow soothing, chanting provides the perfect commentary.

[I absolutely cannot wait for this to happen live]

Kim Carlsson (Lifelover/Hypothermia/Kyla/Life Is Pain/Kim has been in so many bands he has an “Etc.” by his name on Encyclopedia Metallum)

A very over the top showman, it is tempting to want to dismiss Kim Carlsson because of his seeming enthusiasm to bleed all over everyone and everything as well as his vocals, because to be honest, he doesn’t have that good of a voice. This is precisely why I love his vocals, however. The guy makes do with what he has, and his vocals, while they may not be all that pretty, have a veritable ton of feeling behind them. Kim Carlsson’s shrieks are positively (negatively?) agonized, and are all the better for their lack of finesse. That raw edge is just what the doctor ordered if you are feeling that your blood needs curdling.

[Never really could get into Lifelover, but I still dig the vocals]

[Now that I can get behind]

ICS Vortex (Arcturus, Borknagar, Lamented Souls, solo work, ex-Dimmu Borgir)

ICS Vortex has, quite simply, one of the most awesome voices I have ever heard. His range is simply amazing, covering every inch of ground between harsh growls and vibrato-laden falsetto. A very versatile vocalist, he has sung for bands of every ilk, including doom metal, black metal, and avant garde. Very few singers can claim Vortex’s virtuosity, and songs like Arcturus’ “The Chaos Path” are indicative of his skill (I’m pretty sure they wrote that song just for him, or he wrote it, or something. I am convinced that there is not another vocalist in the world who could do justice to it in the way Vortex does). Also, Vortex seems like just about the nicest guy on the entire planet, with a goofy stage presence and a friendly smile. He is really good about interacting with his fans (he once left me a comment on MySpace back in the day, just, it would appear, to be nice and make a fan’s day). A personality to match his pipes.

[The best Dimmu Borgir song. No, don’t argue. I’m right]

Attila Csihar (Tormentor, Mayhem, and more bands than I could possibly ever name)

In terms of Mayhem’s vocalists, there seems to be endless debate as to who is the best. Attila, for some reason, often seems to get short shrift in this battle. I’ve never really understood why. He’s got a powerful voice, and he can actually sing as well (which is more than can be said for our poor friend Dead). His chanting on “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is one of my favorite parts of that entire album; it’s instant chills. Also, Attila has a really fun stage persona; when I saw Mayhem about a year ago, he sang to a skull that he brought on stage with him and wore a cape. Besides his work with Mayhem, his band Tormentor (from his native Hungary) was groundbreaking in the early black metal underground. In interviews that I have seen with him, Attila seems like one of the kindest and most thoughtful guys in the black metal scene, making him someone I’d love to sit and have a beer with.

E (Watain)

Erik Danielsson (or E) of Watain should win the award for biggest lungs on the smallest vocalist. His vocals are powerful and his stage presence is mighty, and even though Watain is not the Erik Danielsson show, his charisma on stage makes it hard to tear your eyes from him. Multi-talented, he also plays the bass on all of Watain’s albums (though they hire a bassist to tour with them so that he can focus on doing what he does). I particularly love the way he incorporates his vocals into Watain’s songs; someone on the interwebs once described E’s vocals as “slithering” in and out of the music, and I think that perhaps that is the best way to describe it. E has a way of knowing exactly how to incorporate the lyrics into the song, and that combined with the sheer emotion he exudes makes him a formidable force.

[The first verse of this one is a good example of the “slithering” I mentioned]

Garm (Ulver, Arcturus, Borknagar)

Garm is another of those talented vocalists who has as lovely a singing voice as he has a scream. I love watching videos of Arcturus live and seeing Vortex sing the songs that Garm recorded with the band, because it becomes very clear in such instances what very different vocalists they are, though they have been in many of the same bands. Garm’s voice is a lot lower than Vortex’s, for instance, and he is much more comfortable with screaming and growling. Ulver’s early black metal albums are some of the most influential in the genre, also, and their later work, while often wildly experimental, is never not good.

[One of my all time favorite songs]

Abbath (Immortal, I)

Abbath may have the most instantly recognizable voice in black metal. His grim and frostbitten croak was what originally lured me into the subgenre. Like Dagon from Inquisition, Abbath’s vocals are more of a croak than the shrieks that tend to define the genre, and even when he sings passages (like in “All Shall Fall”), his voice is raw and more raspy than clear. Abbath has often been said to sound like Popeye, and this mixture of seriousness with good-natured humor is one of the main reasons perhaps for Immortal’s continuous success.

Gaahl (Trelldom, God Seed, Gorgoroth)

Gaahl and King ov Hell’s less than amicable split with Gorgoroth left a lot of fans feeling hurt and confused and understandably resentful, but regardless of how you feel about the Gorgoroth incident, you have to admit that Gaahl does some great vocals. His voice sounds almost violent (is the only way I can think of to describe it), and certainly inhuman. With just the right amount of shriek, Gaahl is able to keep in line with the traditional vocals while still maintaining a unique sound. The result is something really quite nightmarish. His band Trelldom is also quite good, and unfortunately often overlooked. Sorry kids, Gaahl is my favorite Gorgoroth vocalist, yes, even more than Pest, whose voice I can only stand when the recording doesn’t sound like it was done on a tape recorder in someone’s bathroom.

[I didn’t tag this as NSFW, so you can watch the video on your own time]

***

In short, I think metal vocalists are still relevant. At length… everything I just typed. So what do you all think? Do you think that vocalists are important to the genre of metal? Who are some of your favorite black metal vocalists?

Stay tuned, I’ll be covering Melechesh before I go to see them on Friday (oh my gosh. So excited. What a show, and Melechesh and Inquisition are the OPENERS).

Stay kvlt.

-Hagalaz

Maryland Death Fest Announces the Final List of Bands

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, concerts, death metal, doom, festivals, united states with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

[This info was gleaned from MDF’s Facebook and website]

Oh, excitement! Maryland Death Fest has finalized the band listing for 2013, and the Melvins, Cobalt, and Deiphago have all been added to the list! Also Ascension, who I am not familiar with but have been informed that I should be, so I will go about making that familiarity happen.

The final list of bands is below:

@ Former Sonar Compound

!T.O.O.H.! (Czech Republic)
ABIGAIL (Japan)
AHUMADO GRANUJO (Czech Republic)
AMBASSADOR GUN
ANHEDONIST
ANTAEUS (France)
AOSOTH (France)
ASCENSION (Germany)
ASTHMA CASTLE
BENEDICTION (UK)
BOLT THROWER (UK)
BROKEN HOPE
CARCASS (UK)
CARPATHIAN FOREST (Norway)
COBALT
CONVULSE (Finland)
CRUCIAMENTUM (UK)
DEIPHAGO (Philippines/Costa Rica)
DOWN
EVOKEN
EXODUS
GLORIOR BELLI (France)
GRIDE (Czech Republic)
IHSAHN (Norway)
INGROWING (Czech Republic)
INIQUITY (Denmark)
INTEGRITY
KOMMANDANT
LOSS
MANILLA ROAD
(the) MELVINS
MIDNIGHT
MORGION
NECROPSY
THE OBSESSED
PAGAN ALTAR (UK)
PELICAN
PENTAGRAM
PIG DESTROYER
REPULSION
REVENGE (Canada)
RIGHTEOUS PIGS
SLEEP
SPEEDWOLF
UFOMAMMUT (Italy)
VENOM (UK)
VINTERLAND (Sweden)
WEEDEATER

@ Baltimore Soundstage:

CITIZENS ARREST
CONVERGE
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
EDDIE BROCK
FEASTEM (Finland)
FULL OF HELL
HEARTLESS
HELLSHOCK
ILSA
INFEST
IRON LUNG
KROMOSOM (Australia)
LIKE RATS
MAGRUDERGRIND
MASSGRAV (Sweden)
OLD LINES
ROTTEN SOUND (Finland)
SETE STAR SEPT (Japan)
TINNER (Finland)
VITAMIN X (Netherlands)
WAKE
WEEKEND NACHOS

Tickets will go on sale starting next Monday, October 15th, and it seems like at this point it will only be multi-day passes. Individual day passes will be available when they figure out who is playing where, which should be by the end of the month, although they will have the Thursday bands listed on Monday when the tickets are initially released (if my understanding is correct, the Thursday venue is indoors and thus smaller).

Guys, I’ve been saving up for this and it has SUCKED, because I am therefore technically BROKE, but I am looking forward to making that technicality a reality soon, and thus fulfilling the destiny that so many black metal fans have done before me and seeing Venom play live oh my. (Also Aosoth, Antaeus, Carpathian Forest, Ihsahn, Sleep, the list goes on… holy crap that lineup is great). So buy yourself a ticket to MDF, friends, and mayhap I will run into you there.

Also, please check out my post from Sunday about the lack of an underground support system for touring bands in the US. We really need to get something together, and I’m willing to throw whatever meager power I can muster with this little blog to make something of that nature happen. You can find it here.

-Hagalaz

A Modest Proposal: The United States Needs An Underground Circuit for Global (And Local) Metal

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, concerts, death metal, doom, DSBM, folk metal, local, musings, neo-folk, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

[I wasn’t sure what to categorize/tag this with, so I categorized/tagged it with everything]

The other day, I had a conversation with my friend Jamie concerning the nature of the metal underground in the United States. This was prompted by my sadness at reading that the band Hypothermia (I plan on featuring them sometime; they are one of Kim Carlsson’s [Lifelover] many projects) said on their Facebook page that they would more than likely never tour the United States because it is so expensive. And this is true; I wonder that so many European bands continue to tour here because of the expense. It seems to me, with the already very limited audience for this kind of music, that you would barely break even if you decided to tour the States, especially the Scandinavian countries which I know have to pay very high taxes on whatever they make here.

As I was protesting to Jamie that I would be happy to put the guys from Hypothermia up for the night and feed them if they were to come here (there’s only two of them), I thought, well, why not? The punk subculture in the US has an extensive network of people in cities across the country who give free crash space and food to touring bands, so why not for the metal folks?

Now, I admit that my knowledge about such things is scant, and I know that sometimes the punk circuit does facilitate the metal scene, but I have no idea if there is something like this in place already or not (I have for the most part spent my life in rural areas. This is the first time I have ever lived in a big city with a thriving metal scene). Does anyone out there know if there is a US underground circuit for helping out touring metal bands? And if so, is there any way or reason why not to use it to help bands from other countries fund a US tour? Not just Scandinavian bands, of course. Bands from anywhere. I mean, getting here and paying for travel would still be expensive, of course, but I’m sure that there are enough people and fans in the United States to help provide food and crash space for visiting bands.

I also know that the underground is supposed to stay, well, underground. So if you have info and want to let me in on it, leave me a message on here and we’ll find a way to get in touch that is not so public as my blog. I am very curious as to how and if this could work, however. Also, for you folks in other countries, is there some kind of circuit for touring bands to get help with crash space and meals where you live? How does it work, and is it effective? Does anyone have any idea if a plan like this could work in a place as huge as the United States, which I know is often a deterrent for bands considering a tour here?

**slightly edited, to add the point that we need a good support system for bands in general, our own as well as those who visit from elsewhere.

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In other news, even though it wasn’t much and it didn’t stick, yesterday was the first snow of the season in the Twin Cities! In celebration, I think we should listen to the Kings of Winter.

Have a good one, folks.

-Hagalaz